is an adventure game that exhibits poor production
values due to an obvious limited budget but doesn't
necessarily suffer for it.
by Cass Andrusiak
16, 2006 - Daemonica
is a very playable game and is certainly recommended
for adventure fans and those that are looking for
something a little different, as long as they can
get over the less-than-stellar production values.
The game plays out like part CSI, part Diablo and
part Gauntlet with several essences thrown in from
classic point-and-click adventure style games. It's
basically a murder investigation set in medieval times,
but it also includes occult overtones in the form
of ghosts, demons and magic.
gameplay is first and foremost fashioned in the adventure
genre but there are action elements that include hand-to-hand
combat in addition to collecting items, puzzle solving,
exploring, character interaction and a little bit
of role-playing for good measure. You could say that
Daemonica has it all - but not in spades. The pacing
of the game is somewhat predictable, even if the storyline
isn't. The order of events is formulaic. You could
almost expect the routine if this were some hard-boiled
New York City detective with a bad attitude but not
with this ancient, mysterious shaman.
in medieval England, the town of Cavorn is struggling
with a dilemma that literally threatens to tear it
apart. A young girl was murdered and the accused was
recently hanged for his apparent crimes. But many
in the town believe he was innocent - and they are
afraid of a much darker and sinister explanation.
Enter Nicholas Farepoynt, a mysterious stranger with
incredible talents to solve such cases. Farepoynt
is a tortured soul. His gifts give him no respite.
He is hell bent on hunting down the monstrous human
killers that wreak havoc on the innocent and administer
swift judgement and punishment. He is the Beast Hunter.
With partial knowledge of an ancient language known
as the language of the demons, or Demonica, he can
utter words and phrases to help him in his quests.
is an intriguing character. We don't know a lot about
him but we know that he had a certain connection to
the darkness even though he appears to be on the side
of good. He's one of the few characters that are voiced
and through his soliloquies we learn more about him.
He's eloquent, introspective and pained. We can't
but help to want to know everything we can about him.
That's good writing.
the aid of magical potions that Nicholas creates from
locating various flowers and herbs, he is able to
heal the weak, use them to help solve puzzles and
even communicate with the dead. A potion called the
Soulgreef puts him in touch with the ghosts of murdered
victims where he may learn of their fate and those
that were responsible for it. Throughout the game
you will talk to a variety of living and non-living
entities, piecing together bits of information with
physical clues which you can collect and store in
your inventory. Talking to the dead isn't as easy
as you might imagine. First you have to find all of
the ingredients for the potion and then you have to
locate the body since it must be in close proximity
in order to communicate with its departed soul. This
requires getting the body back to your lair without
the townsfolk seeing you, as it would unsettle them
to no end.
is nothing particularly difficult about this game
but some of the puzzles will bend your mind a little.
They may seem a little arbitrary but eventually you'll
find that they do in fact relate. Without a back button
on the conversation tree some of the conversations
require that you replay them from the beginning so
that you can ask other questions. You will also have
a tendency to run out of plants for your potions,
as they don't regenerate and there is no sort of indicator
telling you how much you have left.
give the developers credit for bringing this game
to life as much as they did, with 3D environments
that you can explore, and still have enough room to
move around in for combat. Although the game isn't
loaded with action, at least there is some. At the
unfortunate end of the aspects the character interaction
is relegated to text - and there is a lot of it. Thankfully
the writing flows and once you get used to it you'll
be doing the characters' voices in your head. When
you're engaged in conversation everything else on
the screen is static. There is no movement from the
characters at all, which makes you think you might
be talking to dead person - without going through
all the trouble.
again, the developers use the medieval backdrop to
their advantage by being able to reuse textures of
wood and stone and maintain an eerie, gloomy, low
light environment. It not only highlights the chilling
mood but keeps the costs of game development low,
which is a huge consideration since adventure games
are not big sellers. The controls are good if not
simple. The combat is a nice touch but it could have
used just a little more depth to at least bring it
into the neighborhood of the hack-and-slash mechanics
of something similar to Ninja Gaiden or Samurai Warrior.
There isn't much in the way of sound effects. A handful
of ambient sounds like creaky doors and floors and
unidentifiable animal utterances would have made things
creepier. But in the game's defense, the eerie silence
allows your mind to take over which can be a lot more
frightening. If you're playing this game alone in
your room with the lights, TV and stereo turned off,
you're probably better off than having the atmosphere
ruined by a cheesy sound effect. The music is appropriate
for the scenes if not a little subdued. At least it
never gets overly dramatic.
overall pace of the game might be a little too slow
for those with an action aptitude. With the handy
map you can travel instantly to any location you've
already visited. That speeds things up considerably.
The journal keeps a record of potions, ingredients,
information and various conversations that you've
had with other characters for quick reference.
of the gameplay in Daemonica is cerebral but it can
be a rewarding experience. However, once you've found
the killer, don't expect much in the way of replay